Hot Or Not - Does A Tan Make You More Attractive?

By: Stacia Naquin Email
By: Stacia Naquin Email

It's not where you'd think to go for scientific research ...a place where people upload pictures of themselves and ask: “Am I hot or not?”

But hotornot.com was exactly what Dr. Vinh Chung with Vanguard Dermatology & Skin Cancer Specialists was looking for to try to better reach his patients.

“We tell people over and over again not to go tan, but they still do it,” he said.

Dr. Chung believes it comes from the idea that being tan makes you more attractive. So he and his colleagues decided to use hotornot.com to prove or disprove that idea.

“Does it really make you look better? Obviously people believe it does,” he said. “So we approached it from a scientific perspective.”

They uploaded two pictures of each person. One was a baseline photo. The other was a photo-shopped tan photo. The researchers then let people rate the attractiveness of the photos and here's what they found.

“We found actually the tan image you have a 2 to 1 chance of having a higher score than the untanned image,” said Dr. Chung.

People overwhelmingly were voted more attractive when they had a tan. And we found similar results when we hit the streets with the same pictures.

The tan photos were always viewed as more attractive. People said it made the subjects appear “skinnier” and “more healthy.”

Dr. Chung's colleagues took notice. This study was featured on the cover of the Dermatologic Surgery journal late last year.

So what does it all mean? Dr. Chung hopes this study can help doctors better reach their patients with this important message.

“Traditionally we've just told patients to ...don't tan because it's bad for you, don't tan because it's bad for you, don't tan because it's bad for you. But it is an uphill battle against a force that is much stronger than anything we can convince patients of,” said Dr. Chung.

Find out how he’s using this information to talk to his patients about tanning Thursday morning on 11 News This Morning at 6:40 a.m.


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